• 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 450 g (14½ oz) chilled ready-made or homemade sweet shortcrust pastry (see page 15)
  • a little flour, for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300 ml (½ pint) double cream
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) milk
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Mix the vanilla sugar with the cinnamon. Cut the pastry in half and roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a 20 cm (8 inch) square. Sprinkle 1 square with the spiced sugar and position the second square on top. Reroll the pastry to a 40 x 30 cm (16 x 12 inch) rectangle and cut out 12 circles, each 10 cm (4 inch) across, using a large cutter or small bowl as a guide.

Press the pastry circles into the sections of a 12-hole nonstick muffin tray, pressing them firmly into the bottom and around the sides. Prick each pastry base, line with a square of foil, add macaroni or beans and bake blind (see page 12) in a preheated oven, 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and macaroni or beans and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (325°F), Gas Mark 3.

Beat together the eggs, egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla essence. Heat the cream and milk in a pan until bubbling around the edges and pour it over the egg mixture, stirring. Strain the custard into a jug and pour into the pastry shells.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the custard is only just set. Let the tarts cool in the tin, then remove and serve dusted with icing sugar.

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